Self-Hosting: Taking Back Control of Your Data

Self-Hosting is all about having total control over your own server, be it a VPS, Dedicated Server, or a computer set up at your home, to host your personal data and services yourself, instead of relying exclusively on third-parties. Self-hosting isn’t necessarily about being private …

Self-Hosting is all about having total control over your own server, be it a VPS, Dedicated Server, or a computer set up at your home, to host your personal data and services yourself, instead of relying exclusively on third-parties.

Self-hosting isn’t necessarily about being private or secure, it’s about being autonomous and being in control of your services and data, which does help alleviate a lot of privacy and security risks of using third party services, there’s an age-old saying:

If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product

It can also be a great learning experience, and honestly, I just love being in control of my things, this post on r/selfhosted sums it up really well:

But, is it really worth to spend the time and effort (and money) on self-hosting projects, especially when all services that you could use are already available online for free (mostly) with seamless integrations and ease of use.

Self-hosting may seem like overcomplicating things, or even re-inventing the wheel, let’s see why I recommend self-hosting at least for some services, along with all the reasons why should you not host some critical services yourself.

Why You Should Self-Host

  • You care about privacy and want control over your personal data: Your pictures, messages, files have no business being on somebody else’s server, a.k.a. “The Cloud”; they are part of your private life and should be managed by you, not some company who not only can sell your data, but also puts your data at risk of data breaches.
  • You believe in a free, open, and decentralized internet without any spying, manipulation, and filter bubbles.
  • You love customizing things rather than using the defaults: With your very own server, you can install any program you want and customize every bit of it.
  • You want to learn about all things computers, internet, and tech.

Why You Should Not Self-Host

With great servers comes great responsibilities, operating a server means you are responsible for the data you are hosting, server maintenance, backups, reliability, and everything in between.

You are the admin, you’ll need to perform maintenance and upgrades from time to time, and also keep an eye on security news and recommendations so that your server or critical data don’t get compromised.

Self-hosting is a double-edged sword, you are in full control of your server, you get to tinker with everything but if something does get wrong, you’ll be responsible for it; the performance of your self-hosted apps depend on CPU, RAM, the available internet connectivity, and how it is configured.

Self-hosting, for me, started as a discovery of owning my data and learning about servers but soon became a hobby, open-source projects like YunoHost makes it much easier for anyone to self-host their services with ease.